More photos! Look forward to seeing you all soon.
This is a picture of Scott Base. Scott Base is the Kiwi (New Zealand) base located on the same island and just across the penisula from McMurdo. For some reason all of their buildings are green. You can also see some ridges in the sea ice directly behind the station. These are known as pressure ridges and form where the sea ice is under compression as it is pushed into the land by the ocean currents.
This is a bird called a skua. They are ornery little bastards. They sit at the entrance to the galley and wait for people to walk out with food. Then they attack you and take your food. At the chili cookoff, I saw them dive bomb people and steal their cup of chili right out of their hands. Pretty comical. They are about the size of a typical seagull.
Some shots of McMurdo with Ob or Observation Hill in the background. Ob Hill is an old (inactive) volcanic cone. It was formed when fragments (called ejecta) thrown up from a volcanic vent, piled up around the vent in the shape of a cone.
Here is a group photo of the entire Polenet science team. I'm underneath the Norweigan flag for all you geography buffs or fourth in from the right.
These are some more shots from Patriot Hills. One morning Don and I hiked to the highest point along the ridge in the mountains behind our camp. As usual the pictures do not do it justice, but the scenery was spectular! It was a pretty grueling hike too because it was really steep and you were either walking on ice or skree (loose rock) for the entire ~700m vertical climb.
So towards the end of our stay at Patriot Hills after all the tourists or tour-ons left, the camp staff decided to groom the snow in the mountain (snowy pass) behind camp for sledding. I'm not sure how high the slope was but it was higher than anyone should have been sledding on. It was crazy! You couldn't see the top from the bottom or vice versa and there was a giant turn with rock ledges to maneuver. But we all grabbed a sled a gave it a whirl anyway. Man was it fun! The most extreme sledding I've ever done in my life. We were all rolling on the ground laughing from the hilarity of it all. The top picture is a shot of me going down the mountain. I had snow and ice in every crack and crevice on my body by the time we were finished. We warmed up by drinking a hot, spiced red wine. I forget what they called it but it was delicious. The second picture is of the snow machines shuttling people to the top of the slope.
And even more photos coming soon!